Wednesday, December 19, 2001

More on stamps... In the near future, if you want to mail a letter, you'll have to present your ID.

Stamps will be serialized and matched with the sender (or at least the person who bought the stamps) when they are scanned in the post office. A lot of the infrastructure for this sort of system is already in place.

Monday, December 17, 2001

It looks like, if you don't like stamps with American flags on them, you may be investigated as a subversive.

I personally like the American flag. I don't see it as a statist symbol; I feel it is a symbol of freedom. (And I think the Statue of Liberty is, if anything, more broken as a symbol than the flag.) But symbol's meaning contrasts sharply with the incident, and clearly shows what's happening to our liberty.

In other news -- are you still worried about the National ID card? The one that's already being tried out inside the US military? Well, now it's time to fear the International ID card too...

Friday, December 14, 2001


Astroturfing is the term used when someone counterfeits a grassroots effort. Instead of being forwarded by people, it's being propped up by outside interests.

Very recently the largest ever discovery of astroturfing took place. According to the Wall Street Journal Online, the people behind ordered a multitude of documents from the IRS using the Freedom of Information Act, detailing the finances and management beind various tax-exempt organizations and pieced together the links. The evidence is available at

Or should I say, WAS available. As of this time, both the ActivistCash and NannyCulture web sites are down. Overloaded? System crash? Or were they hacked?

UPDATE: The site is back up. Go take a peek.

Thursday, December 13, 2001

Unattributed story, found on an email list...

I was going to bed the other night when my wife told me that I had left the light on in the shed. She could see from the bedroom window. As I looked for myself, I saw that there were people in the shed taking things.

I phoned the police, but they told me that no one was in this area to help at this time, but they would send someone over as soon as they were available. I said OK, hung up, and waited one minute, then phoned the police back.

"Hello. I just called you a minute ago because there were people in my shed. Well, you don't have to worry about them now 'cause I've shot them all."

Within five minutes there were half a dozen police cars in the area, an Armed Response unit, the works. Of course, they caught the burglars red-handed. One of the officers said: "I thought you said that you'd shot them!"

I replied with "I thought you said there was nobody available!"

Thursday, December 06, 2001

Thanks to Neal Boortz for the link -- the Massachusetts Libertarian Party has turned in a petition with 75,000 signatures calling for the repeal of the state income tax. Neal opined that the state's legislature will be doing anything it can to scuttle the ballot, including having it declared unconstitutional ex-post-facto. I tend to agree with him.

Tuesday, December 04, 2001

Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee responded to calls for increasing state income taxes by creating a new charity -- the "Tax Me More Fund". Arkansasans who wish to pay more to their government may do so by contributing. Huckabee said that he will reduce spending rather than raising taxes. Not exactly a libertarian elimination of taxation, but still noteworthy.

Friday, November 30, 2001

*** FLASH *** FLASH *** FLASH *** FLASH *** FLASH ***

In an opinion piece in the National Review, Robert Bork makes his case for military tribunals. Mr. Bork brings up all the arguments for such tribunals, and, as the blurb in OpinionJournal points out, goes further in saying "If there is a problem with Bush's order, it is the exemption of U.S. citizens from trials before military tribunals... The trial of American terrorists in criminal court would pose all the problems of trying foreign terrorists there." In other words, whenever there is a chance of jury members being threatened by a "criminal", or if the cops fear for the safety of an "informant", one's right to trial by jury should be tossed down the oubilette.

Thursday, November 29, 2001

Flashback - Carnivore.

This article from Wired News came out the day after the September 11th attack, and details the FBI's efforts to place monitoring hardware in the central offices of most major ISPs. It further quotes a technician, who tells us they planned to place high-performance versions in all the Tier-1 backbone sites. In other words, ever since shortly after the Twin Towers fell, your email and more has been monitored.

You may feel this is of minimal concern; that the FBI is not allowed to monitor your communications without a warrant, so you couldn't possibly be investigated or charged based on a misinterpreted communication, or on the basis of your web-browsing habits. Unfortunately, this just isn't so. The police don't need a warrant to monitor your actions on the net.

The reason is that no warrant is necessary if the person being monitored does not have any expectation of privacy. It is analogous to having a loud conversation in a crowded restaurant; anyone could overhear what you are saying, and a law-enforcement officer who is having a cup of coffee three tables away could take down your words and use them against you, if he wished to.

An email message bounces between dozens of servers and routers before it reaches your machine; the same is true of the address of any web page you browse. The operator of any one of those machines could listen in on your messages or browsing habits if he wished (and I strongly suspect many of them do). Most people who know this simply grit their teeth and use email anyway, as its convenience, and the lack of a good alternative, outweigh the odds of some Little Brother misusing your information.

Unfortunately, the Federal Government has the resources to parse through the heavy volume of routine communications looking for things they find interesting. And they have the power to SERIOUSLY misuse information they come across. Anything you put in email could be used against you, should they ever decide you were a Bad Man.

And the only solution -- to keep both Big Brother and Little Brother out of our net -- will be to ROUTINELY use encryption to mask our habits.

Tuesday, November 27, 2001

Larry Ellison is further promoting National ID cards, holding discussions with John Ashcroft and top FBI and CIA officials. While It may benefit Oracle to get a contract to run a national ID system, the fact is, like the USA/Patriot Act, it will do very little to improve national security while tromping on Americans' freedoms. Most of the terrorists involved in the September 11th attack came into this country legally and, if such a system had been in place, would have had these ID cards; those who did not have cards would merely have needed to fly on the same plane as one who had a card and could smuggle weapons on board. So the only purpose these cards will serve is to track everything US citizens do.

Sunday, November 25, 2001

Thought Police come to Britain -- Scotland Yard will be creating a secret registry of children, some as young as 3 years of age, of whom they believe may grow up to become criminals. Their progress as they grow up will then be specially monitored.

Saturday, November 24, 2001

Hi, boys and girls. It's time for today's word. Can you say -- CONSENSUS? I knew you could...

"Consensus" is a word everyone should keep in mind, and watchful eyes and ears out for. The word sounds warm and fuzzy, but don't let it fool you; it is a buzzword that is part of a technique called the Hegelian Dialectic. This technique was invented by G. W. F. Hegel and is used to lead a group of people to a conclusion -- and have most of the group's members FEEL it was a rational decision and that they took part in reaching it.

So how does one spot the dialectic method in use? Look for someone calling for a meeting to decide on an issue. See whether that person is trying to lead the group in any particular dimension. There may be a shill in the group to help steer discussion in the "correct" direction. Big warning signs also include breaking the group into sub-groups to work on subsets of the problem, and the leaders' asking for someone who disagrees with parts of the consensus to submit a list of their objections in writing, essentially taking them out of the discussion.

One rule in performing as a "change agent" can be exploited to halt these brainwashing sessions; if a member of the group challenges the leader about whether the dialectic method is being used, the leader is supposed to bring the meeting abruptly to an end, blaming that person for being a disruption. If properly handled, this will let you explain to others what was being done to them.

A friend who read my article had this to say:

You should mention that by going to the meeting as a group and spreading out through the large group and supporting each other in asking question and getting them answered. Don't indicate you came together or even talk to each other during breaks.

It is better to allow the meeting to continue since they will just come back again later. If you have a complaint or disagree with something or want an answer ask the whole group if they agree with you, then if you have a collaborator he should say "yes I would like to know" or "I too don't like that suggestion".

The principle of the Consensus Process is to make people feel like they are causing trouble if they object. Individuals that disagree will be ridiculed.

Friday, November 23, 2001

Thanks to the USA/Patriot Act, it looks like "Know Your Customer" doesn't apply only to banks any more. All US Companies must report any cash transactions over $10,000 to the IRS. Much like the rest of the legislation, this will do nothing to prevent terrorism, but increase government control over all our lives.

In separate news, the US has successfully pressured companies to cut all internet and most long-distance access to the nation of Somalia. This country has lacked a government (aside from a mostly unrecognized puppet government appointed by a neighboring country) and by all accounts is thriving despite (or because of?) the ongoing anarchy.

Sunday, November 18, 2001

Among all the other cracks in our liberties comes the dying of Posse Comitatus. It seems that individual rights are falling, one by one, like a row of dominos. A recent show from the talk radio series Steel on Steel, is about a former member of the Hitler Youth drawing parallels between what happened when he was a boy and what is happening now. While the show (IMO) gets a bit wishy-washy towards the end, I think it's something you should listen to.

Wednesday, November 14, 2001

President Bush has authorized the use of military tribunals, rather than trials, for terrorists. "Only noncitizens would be tried before the military commission," said a senior Justice Department official -- but he refused to let his identity be revealed, which basically reduced the statement to "we will only try US citizens when we feel like it."

In the meantime, the term "terrorist" is being greatly broadened to include people who don't like the Federal Government or the United Nations, or basically anyone who thinks things should be different and isn't afraid to say it.

Thursday, November 08, 2001

I'd like to share a web page with you... This is the homepage of Steve Trinward, writer, lyricist and lover of liberty. Among other interesting things on his website is a song titled "Living Liberty". I recommend it.

Thursday, November 01, 2001

Halloween has come and gone... and left me with a conundrum.

Halloween is (normally) big in El Paso, thanks to El Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, only a few miles away. Busloads of children would cross into the US looking for goodies, and I would happily supply them. Two years ago no fewer than 200 children came to my door.

This year, thanks apparently to new restrictions on the border, I was only able to sweeten the hearts of a few dozen children. Now I am left with tons of treats -- and I'm on a diet.


Tuesday, October 30, 2001

Here is another alarmist article, having to do with the creation of "Homeland Security" checkpoints inside the United States. I was rather skeptical about it, but apparently it has been partially confirmed, via talk radio in Michigan. I'll post more details when I get them.
A friend sent this little page in my direction. I couldn't tell you how accurate the article is, but if there really are 600 internment camps, prepped to receive prisoners, throughout the United States, then I would be very concerned for the future.

Sunday, October 28, 2001

Friday, October 26, 2001

It looks like the first news entry will be of a sweeping blow to individual freedom, in the form of the President's having signed the USA act into law. This bill has many provisions designed to "sunset" in 4 years, but many others will not. Please read and participate in the discussion at

Thursday, October 18, 2001

Hi. This is the opening entry for the new Liberty4me 'blog.